2010-A Reflection

DURING THESE THE FINAL DAYS of the year 2010, I had been continuously thinking about what I would write about during these final days.  I have continued to return to a topic of discussion at a social group a few days ago.  The topic of the study group was, “2010-What Worked and What Didn’t Work?”  As I pondered the question during the meeting…I thought of so much that worked and did not work for me this past year.  What worked for me was simply “listening”.  I read many years ago that the majority of people have poor listening skills.  As an educator, I have rediscovered this knowledge, but am now at a point in my life and career that I can see the benefits of having great listening skills.   Poor listening skills for any of us has not and will not work.  Everyone wants to talk because everyone has something to say.  There’s an entire industry that has been birthed out of this notion of “being heard”.   Do you immediately think of trash TV?  I certainly do.  Risking complete embarrassment loss of respect of family and friends, co-workers, managers, etc., people forsake all things holy to get onto television and then with blatant disregard to all that is sane make themselves look like complete idiots – all in successful attempt to be Heard.  

There’s nothing wrong with others listening to you, but what about you listening to others?  As an educator, I’ve made a living of talking, but even educators have room to hone their listening skills.  Not only should educators continue to improve their listening skills, but also judges, lawyers, doctors, reporters, customer service representatives, students, presidents – You! There is a book, an ancient one and too one of my favorites, that states “…everyone should be quick to listen and slow to speak…”  Yeah, this is good advice.  This is what worked for me last year – listening.  And I simply want to do more of it – Period, Case-Closed!

Stagnant, Stale, and Sour: Are you an Examiner?

In RELIGION and POLITICS, people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue, but have taken them at second hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing. – Mark Twain

Commentary:

I was about to grab and slam the gavel (mentally, lol) as I could only imagine what Twain was about to say when he said, “…whose opinions about them were not worth a brass…” You may fill in the blank. In today’s political and religious climate, I find myself increasingly unplugging from the usual religious and political outlets. MSNBC against CNBC, CNBC against CNN, Republic against Democrat, Black against White, Poor against the Rich, Christians against the Muslims, it could become overwhelming – if you aren’t wise enough to simply – unplug. Once you’ve unplugged, you must then begin a serious search for truth. You must initiate a sincere examination of your beliefs, conventions and convictions as well conducting a cross-examination of the beliefs, conventions and convictions of others without being confrontational. You can only do this by asking probing questions and receiving the same, thus encouraging lively and civil debate, discussion and/or exploration. Otherwise, your mind becomes stagnant, stale, and sour like unmoving water!

As an examiner, as Twain implied that some of us are in the above quote, I have longed examined the question “Are all religions: Baptist, Methodist, Jehovah’s Witness, Islam, etcetera, etcetera correct?” I have concluded that every religion may have a portion of the truth, but certainly not a monopoly on truth. Would that be fact or opinion? Whatever you believe, belief in and of itself would imply “opinion”, right? And could this possibly be the birthplace of the phrase, “…everyone is entitled to their own – opinion.” Speaking of proof, I “offer” the following definition as a starting point for examination(s): Fact is that which can be proven. Opinion is your feelings or another person’s feelings on a particular topic.
Fact or opinion can be subjective or objective, it wholly depends upon with whom you are conversing. There is nothing wrong with wrestling with a particular topic/issue and after a time, call “time-out”, not quit, but “time-out”. So, I ask you, are you an examiner or non-examiner? Is your answer subjective or objective? In either case, examine, re-examine and encourage more examination of our world. Only then do we avoid becoming stagnant, stale, and sour like unmoving water! Period, Case-Closed.

Be kinder than Necessary

“Be kinder than Necessary to Everyone you meet, because Everyone is going Through something.” ~ Plato

PCC’s Commentary:

In this particular piece, the words “necessary”, “everyone”, and “through” were capitalized as it is a Necessity to be more kind to Everyone as it just might be in that specific moment that someone (a co-worker, a student, the librarian…the receptionist – You) decides to push Through that something.

Don’t wait for people to be friendly, show them how.  ~ Author Unknown

Ps:  These were simply profound! I’m completely outdone – Period, Case-Closed!